Develop plans and diversify communications systems for proper
When you think about alarm systems in buildings, fire alarms are likely to be the first you consider. They are
highly visible systems that communicate
a simple message to building occupants:
to evacuate. But for emergencies that
are not fire-related, the response might
require something other than evacuation
and occupants might not be sure what
their next actions should be.
“With a fire alarm signal, usually you’re evacuating the
building. However, if it is a mass notification for another
type of emergency – active shooter, tornado warning,
chemical spill – do you want to evacuate the building?
Usually not. Usually you want to shelter in place. You
want to have an emergency response plan to be able to talk
about those different scenarios and decide what actions
should be taken and what is a higher priority,” says Bryan
McLane, Vice President of the National Training Center,
a training provider for fire alarm and security systems.
Making sure your occupants know what to do during
these events requires foresight, diligent preparation
and the right mix of technologies to communicate with
everyone. Are your mass notification systems and plans
enough to ensure your occupants’ safety during
Developing an Emergency
One of the most important things to know about
mass notification is that communicating widespread
messages to the right building occupants takes serious
preparation and an ability to anticipate any number of
emergencies and events that require action.
“A common misconception about mass notification
“You have to think about these scenarios as times
is that systems will work right out of the box with-
out having any kind of implementation or planning,”
says Daniel Graff-Radford, Chief Product Officer at
OnSolve, an emergency mass notification provider.
“There are ways that you can blast messages to people
and that might suffice, but that is a recipe for disaster.
If you don’t have a really solid implementation plan,
when an issue comes up, you’re not going to be as pre-
pared to run those scenarios.”
Thus, it is important to develop an emergency
response plan and risk analysis with someone who
is qualified and can think big when it comes to these
events, explains McLane. Working with experts who
will think of the right questions, anticipate how build-
ing occupants might react and know how to cover any
possible scenario is critical to being prepared. At that
point, you can enact a clear, sequential plan that will
lead building occupants to safety.
A Multilayered Approach to